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Daily Reads: Activism Marks International Women’s Day; New WikiLeaks Drop on CIA Spying

A roundup of stories we're reading at BillMoyers.com HQ...

Daily Reads: Activism Marks [...]

A vigil to mark International Women's Day in Hong Kong on March 8, 2017. (ANTHONY WALLACE/AFP/Getty Images)

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Today is International Women’s Day –> And with it come protests, strikes, marches and other activism all around the world. The Guardian is following along with a live blog. In the United States, some of the same activists behind the day after Trump’s swearing-in Women’s March have organized a women’s general strike. The strike highlights “the ways that ‘women’s work’ or ‘women’s labor’ [are] at times unseen,” one of the organizers, Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor, tells Sarah Jaffe in an interview at our site. “It can be undervalued and underpaid.” If you’d like to participate, Ellie Shechet has what you need to know at Jezebel.

Wikileaks –> The latest document dump contains thousands of pages of details on how the CIA uses various hacking techniques to spy on people. News outlets initially reported that encrypted messaging services like WhatsApp and Signal, popular among people who don’t want the government reading their messages, had been compromised. That’s not quite right, Sam Biddle and Micah Lee report for The Intercept. “News outlets implied that the agency has a means of getting through the protections built into the chat systems. It doesn’t. Instead, it has the ability, in some cases, to take control of entire phones; accessing encrypted chats is simply one of many security implication of this.”

If you have a Samsung smart TV, however, it seems that the government can listen in. “A program called Weeping Angel details work in 2014 to turn Samsung’s smart TVs into stealthy listening devices,” Andy Greenberg writes for Wired. “The research notes include references to a ‘Fake Off’ mode that disables the television’s LEDs to make it look convincingly powered down while still capturing audio.”

No one likes this new health care mess –> It’s fair to say most members of Congress think the American Health Care Act — Republicans House leadership’s proposal to overhaul Obamacare — doesn’t go far enough or goes too far. Few seem especially excited about it, despite attempts to drum up enthusiasm. Alice Ollstein writes for Talking Points Memo, “As they tried to straddle a potentially impossible political divide, the House committee chairs pushing the bill forward presented a contradictory message: The bill both completely scraps Obamacare and protects some of its most popular provisions.”

Democrats, David Dayen writes at The Nation, think AHCA should be dead on arrival: “Under this bill, the average American will be more likely to be uninsured, or insured with higher co-pays and deductibles, or ‘covered’ with a plan worth as much as the plastic insurance card it’s issued on.” Julie Rovner at Kaiser Health News digs into the details: she has five ways the American Health Care Act differs from Obamacare.

$2.1 billion! –> That’s how much Wall Street spent on lobbying and political donations during the 2016 election cycle. That’s more than $2.6 million a day. “The entire apparatus of government operates in an environment flooded with millions of dollars in Wall Street cash on a daily basis,” says Lisa Donner, executive director of Americans for Financial Reform, the watchdog group that added up the numbers. “If you want to understand why finance too often hurts consumers, investors and businesses far from Wall Street, take a look at these numbers.”

War on worker protections –> Earlier this week, Senate Republicans made it easier for the federal government to contract with firms that exploit employees. “The 49-48 vote, with all Democrats opposed, eliminates a regulation issued late in Obama’s presidency that would have made it harder for companies to secure federal contracts if they have a documented history of wage theft or workplace hazards,” Dave Jamieson reports for The Huffington Post.

Inhofe’s people take over EPA –> The Oklahoma senator is a champion of climate denial, and memorably once threw a snowball on the floor of the Senate to show that climate change isn’t happening — because, he reasoned, it still gets cold out. Two Inhofe alums are now Scott Pruitt’s chief of staff and deputy chief of staff, Kevin Bogardus reports for Greenwire. Meanwhile, Emily Atkin writes for The New Republic, the EPA’s Office of Science and Technology Policy has scrubbed the term “science” from its mission statement.

Bad hombre –> The latest sensation in Mexico City’s lucha wrestling scene is a tall blonde American who plays an antagonistic Trump supporter, uniting Mexicans in their hatred. Jean Luis Arce reports for AFP.

Morning Reads was compiled by John Light and edited by Michael Winship.

 


 

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